Photo by, Brayan Lopez

I am guilty of silence.

Of holding back,
and not speaking my mind.

I kept my lips sealed, 
when told my hair was too big and had to sit at the back.

I uttered no words,
when told my hair was ugly.

I held my tongue,
as i was told i couldn’t play house, 
because in Africa — i wouldn’t have one.

I covered my mouth, 
as boys called me blow job lips.

I muttered
as i was told to go home, even though i was born right here

I grit my teeth,
when a “friend” told people it’s okay that i’m black because i can act white.

I remained silent as i ran off into the sun,
when told i shouldn’t play out, because i’ll get darker.

I changed the subject
when told i’m not really Bi.

Kissed my teeth,
when i was told i’m not black enough.

And i have wept silently 
when an ex said my natural hair doesn’t suit me.

I am no longer silent.

Those moments i was silent, 
but so were those around me.

The teachers, parents, family, and friends.
Kept silent.

Recognise moments of silence, 
and the silence of those around you.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, 
but the silence of our friends.” — MLK